by Alex Francis
On February 28, the Arizona Senate approved a bill that would make gold and silver legal tender throughout the state. While it would still have to pass through the House and be signed by Governor Jan Brewer (R) to become law, SB 1439 proposes giving privately minted gold and silver coins the legal ability to pay bills. It was proposed in response to the concern that federal currency is losing its value.
While the republican-sponsored bill cleared the first hurdle by gaining approval in the Senate, it did not make it out without first being mocked by democratic Senator Steve Farley. He proposed amending the bill to use more Arizonan commodities like the five Cs (cattle, copper, citrus, cotton, and climate) as currency instead, quipping that you could pay with oranges and add a tangerine for sales tax—though he did admit that he wasn’t quite sure how the climate could be harnessed as currency.
Although Farley’s rebuttal of the bill was certainly humorous, he brought up a few legitimate concerns in the process. For example, the use of gold and silver as currency would require stores to be equipped to weigh and assess the worth of the metals.
It will be interesting to see how this interesting bill fares as it faces the House. Utah signed a similar bill into law in 2011, and a number of other states, including, Indiana, New Hampshire, Washington, and Colorado, have all, in recent years, entertained the thought of similar measures.
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